Beauty is not something objective. Its concept has been changed constantly.
Anna Utopia Giordano’s last work, Venus, has something to say about the ideals of beauty. Especially it focuses on the female body and how it has been represented in the Renaissance.
She takes as examples ten beloved works of art from different artists. All of them depict Venus. For instance we can see Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Hayez’s Venus and Tiziano’s Venere di Urbino.
The women we admire in these works represent the same idea of beauty: according to the culture in the Renaissance, a female body needed to be abundant and florid in order to be considered sensual and beautiful.
Nowadays we are surrounded by a continuous flow of images which suggest another ideal of the beautiful body, much more bony and sharp.
What if these two words overlapped? What if we could use Photoshop on a Tiziano as well as it is used by photographers in sexy calendars?
The Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano did it!
For her work she used ten paintings. Next to each she placed a new version slimmed down by Photoshop.
The result is a visible difference: on the left side we have the original abundant, curvy Venus. On the right side we have her modern avatar: skinnier and with a thinner waistline.
This work is powerful and meaningful. Rather than a judgment about which Venus is more beautiful, this work comments on the ephemeral nature of cultural standards when it comes to the ideals of beauty.